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4th Annual Energy Investment Forum Opens in Zagreb; Focuses on Energy Strategy

20.02.2017  09:41
The fourth annual Energy Investment Forum (EIF) held in Zagreb on Thursday focused on the long-expected Energy Development Strategy which should harmonize energy supply security and ecological protection goals, Croatian media report. The wave of new investment in the energy sector suggests that Croatia has potential projects worth EUR 8 billion, requiring modernization and construction of natural gas and oil transportation infrastructure.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy Ante Cikotic noted that intense and significant changes are expected in the Croatian energy sector, in line with European and globally set challenges, writes POSLOVNI DNEVNIK. He reminded that significant progress has been made with Renewable Energy Sources (RES), but that many challenges remain that can be seen as opportunities for Croatia to become a society based on ‘green technology’. “The low carbon development and Energy Strategy are two documents that the plan for a green Croatian economy can be based on – one of the important goals we have set is reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere by 40% by 2030, and 80-90% in the long term by 2050,” said Cikotic. 

Cikotic noted that heavier reliance on RES will result in stronger research and production segments of the energy sector, with a potential creation of 80,000 – 100,000 new jobs.

Faculty of Electronics and Computing (FER) professor Zeljko Tomsic contends that energy security, low carbon development and investment in electric energy “can only result from a firm decision to implement guidelines and export instructions, while considering the global, regional and local situation.” He notes that the volatility of oil prices is an example of how unpredictable the energy sector is, and how prone it is to rapid changes. 
Tomsic notes that energy is a service to the economy that is important in ensuring competitiveness. He contends that “for the sake of energy security, at least 70% of primary and transformed energy should be produced nationally, with maximum national added value – which points to renewable energy sources, especially hydroelectric generating stations.” He added that Croatia’s energy strategy should be drafted according to real conditions in the region and a consensus between all political parties and all Croatian citizens, so that it is executed regardless of any rotation of the Government in power.
At the conference, Cikotic announced that the amendments to the Law on the Natural Gas Market now in the legislative procedure will partially liberalize the natural gas market from April - but the state will still have the ability to regulate the price of natural gas for households in the next heating season, writes HRT. However, after that, the price of natural gas will be set by the market. “With the changes that will take place, we as a state need to ensure absolute supply for public services and households,” said Cikotic, adding that the planned Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal is an important new potential supply route.
Cikotic explained that the LNG terminal and the Adriatic-Ionian Pipeline (AIP) are projects of national, regional and European importance. 
LNG Croatia director of corporate communication Matej Zovkic confirmed that a call for letters of interest for the leasing of the LNG terminal’s capacities has been completed, and that documentation for the building permit will be completed within the next two months. “For Croatia, the LNG terminal is important because it will ensure independence of gas supply and will surely reduce the price of natural gas because it represents a new supply source,” said Zovkic, adding that the project should be completed by 2019.
HRT notes that the capacity of the planned floating LNG terminal will be 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The project has been assessed by the EU to be important to the advancement of energy security and reduced dependency on Russian natural gas supply.
Although media reported earlier in the week that electricity prices could increase because of the higher price of electricity from renewable sources, Minister of Environmental Protection and Energy Slaven Dobrovic explained Thursday that the price will not increase, writes VECERNJI LIST. Namely, instead of a surcharge on electricity, the Government will introduce an excise tax on the production of electricity from renewable sources to offset the increased price paid for this electricity.
Dobrovic reminded that the Government reduced the Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity from 25% to 13% as at 1 January this year. 
JUTARNJI LIST notes that the VAT reduction will mean a HRK 200 savings in 2017 on average for households in comparison to 2016. However, the surcharge for renewable energy will soon increase from the current HRK 0.035 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to HRK 0.066-0.075, so the savings could fall to around HRK 150 per year for households.

Source: Poslovni Dnevnik

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